Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Review of "Strangers" by Dean Koontz

I have been putting off reading Dean Koontz for a while. I wanted the moment to be right. When I would have the time to actually devote myself to reading his works. And apparently I found that time. So, here's the review. Again, based on Anne Riley's reviewing format.

From the back of the book:
A terrifying and truly deadly secret--an eternal riddle come to reality--is what the protagonists of this relentlessly gripping novel sobconsiously share. Not one of them knows what the secret is, nor do they know each other. All they know is that a special terror has come to dominate and warp their lives. For each victim the torture is different.
  • For Dominick Corvaisis, in Laguna Beach, California, a writer on the verge of his first success, it means compulsive and increasing dangerous sleepwalking and awakening to cryptic and sinister messages on his word processor.
  • For you doctor Ginger Weiss in Boston, it means that unrelated objects--a pair of black gloves worn by a stranger, water swirling down a drain--have the power to send her into sudden blackouts that threaten her surgical career.
  • For Father Brennan Cronin in Chicago, an idealistic young curate, it means a precipitate loss of faith one morning when he hurls away the sacred vessels at Mass.
  • For Jack Twist in New York, an embittered ex-POW and safecracker par excellence, it means a searing wave of conscience.
  • For seven-year-old Marcie Monatella in Las Vegas, it means zombielike trances when she does nothing but draw pictures of a scarlet moon.
  • For Ernie Block, ex-Marine motel owner in Elko County, Nevada, it means a new fear of the dark so numbing that the approach of dusk reduces him to cowing paralysis.
These and other Strangers are utterly mystified until a pattern of puzzling clues and tentative contacts begins to surface. What could these disparate individuals have shared that would make powerful and ruthless agents strive so hard to make them forget it? Finding the answer, the Strangers stumble toward one another, leading to a stunning climax that will change their lives forever and provide the reader of this masterfully crafted novel with an experience haunting and unforgettable.

My thoughts:
Wow did this book give me the heebie-jeebies (which is saying a lot!). I really couldn't sit it down and even though I rarely did, it still took me about a week to get through it. Definitely one of those books that you need a dictionary for if you want to understand some of the words.

The books copyright is 1986. So the book is as old as I am. Crazy. Although it is 24 years old, I didn't find the reading to be dated. There were only a few instances where I really could tell this book was written a while back because of references to the wars. Other than that, I think Mr. Koontz did a fantastic job of making the material timeless.

His characters were fantastic and deep throughout the emotional state that he led them through. I felt for all of them and wanted to help them in some way (as though reading through the book faster would ease their suffering. LOL). He also did an excellent job of intergrating all the secondary characters into the story. In a way they seem almost like main characters just in the way they are so needed by the actual main characters. All of them were completely unforgettable.

The way the plot unfolded in this tale was perfect. So mysterious and frightening. And I was absolutely not disappointed by the revalation of this dark secret. Even the "bad guy" was good. You could actually see his way of thinking by the end of the story. He did his homework with this one. While not every term was explained, you could hear the terms the doctor and the curate would use on a regular basis. The thief's gear was explained well, and the people just seemed to fit together perfect. And the twists! I found myself surprised quite a bit throughout the whole story.

Book Rating: PG. I don't think there was any problems with language, though I could be wrong. Maybe an adult situation or two.

Recommended for: Anyone who enjoys a little thrill or mystery, but likes a happy ending.

Not recommended for: Anyone without good knowledge of the English language, or doesn't own a dictionary, or who doesn't care for looking up a few words here or there.

Overall Rating: 5/5

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